By Yousef Ahmad

This month is the Month of Ramadan, and during every Ramadan there is fasting, praying, charity giving, the renewal of faith and celebration for Muslims. An integral part of the Muslim Community is the youth and their contributions to the community. Hayat Washington spoke to three of these youths recently. Tara Sharif, Fatma Gdoura and Khaled El-Saraira are all students at George Mason University and were all kind enough to share not only what they do during Ramadan, but also what they would like to see the local community do in order to create a better experience for Muslim college students.

Tara Sharif

HW: I’d like to begin by asking you what is it that you enjoy most about Ramadan? Does it inspire you to do better things? Does it bring you closer to the Ummah (community)?

TS: My favorite thing about Ramadan is the sense of community, especially here at Mason . We have a large Muslim population. In my family as well, we get a lot closer during Ramadan. I also find myself reflecting on things I normally would not during the rest of the year. I enjoy that it makes you feel closer to other Muslims and it makes you realize how fortunate you are and makes you feel grateful.

HW: As someone of Kurdish descent, are your traditions for the Month of Ramadan different from other Muslims?

TS: I don’t believe so, in Kurdistan, like in other Muslim majority countries, they have someone with drums waking people up for sohoor, it’s a big community thing. Restaurants are usually closed, except for those Christian or Jewish or Yazidi pockets in Kurdistan. I know for Eid the first day you spend it with your family. The second day you visit your extended family. The third day you visit your friends and it’s the least formal day.

HW: What do you do to improve your Iman (faith) during Ramadan?

TS: I find that every year that I incorporate more of Islam more into my life. It leaks more into my life outside of Ramadan.  It helps you become more religious and be more focused during the rest of the year. I try to reduce the amount of profanity I speak or listen to. I like to read at night; I have several Islamic books that I read and take great comfort in. I find that when it’s comforting to me during Ramadan I go back to it later when I feel troubled. I try to do all my prayers on time, I’m a lot harsher on myself about doing that and I feel a lot better when I do so.

Fatma Gdoura

HW: In a spiritual sense do you think you grow during Ramadan?

FG: Yes, each Ramadan I try to set goals for myself. I try to read the Qur’an over once and completing the entire Qur’an (khatam). I don’t succeed every year, but I still try. Spending more time with family I grow as a person.

HW: What’s the biggest difficulty and issue for you during Ramadan?

FG: I think that the biggest difficulty for me is trying to balance my regular life with Ramadan. During Ramadan you try to do Taraweeh, you try to spend more time with family but then also you have these responsibilities like school. A lot of students have told me it’s going to be difficult for them to balance summer classes or a job and Ramadan.

Khaled El-Saraira

HW: What’s your favorite part of Ramadan?

KS: I guess my favorite part of Ramadan would be feeling community and how everyone gathers together for Ramadan.

HW: What do you think that the local mosques and Muslim leaders can do for our generation to help us during Ramadan?

KS: I feel there is a disconnect between our generation and our parents generation, who were born and raised overseas. I feel like if we had more Imams from our generation that can relate to things that we care about and that would be an improvement and would get more people of our generation involved.

  ‬بقلم‭ ‬يوسف‭ ‬احمد

هذا‭ ‬هو‭ ‬شهر‭ ‬رمضان‭ ‬يحل‭ ‬علينا،‭ ‬وفي‭ ‬كل‭ ‬رمضان‭ ‬يكون‭ ‬الصيام‭ ‬والصلاة‭ ‬والصدقة‭ ‬وتجديد‭ ‬الإيمان‭ ‬واحتفال‭ ‬المُسلمين‭. ‬والشباب‭ ‬ومساهمتهم‭ ‬جزء‭ ‬لا‭ ‬يتجزأ‭ ‬من‭ ‬المُجتمع‭ ‬المسلم‭. ‬تحدثت‭ ‬محلة‭ ‬حياة‭ ‬واشنطن‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬ثلاثة‭ ‬من‭ ‬الشباب‭ ‬مُؤخرًا‭. ‬تارا‭ ‬شريف،‭ ‬وفاطمة‭ ‬جدورة،‭ ‬وخالد‭ ‬الصرايرة،‭ ‬وجميعهم‭ ‬طلاب‭ ‬في‭ ‬جامعة‭ ‬‮«‬جورج‭ ‬ميسون‮»‬،‭ ‬وكانوا‭ ‬في‭ ‬غاية‭ ‬اللطف‭ ‬ليس‭ ‬فقط‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬حد‭ ‬مُشاركة‭ ‬ما‭ ‬يفعلونه‭ ‬في‭ ‬رمضان‭ ‬معنا،‭ ‬بل‭ ‬ما‭ ‬يُودون‭ ‬رؤيته‭ ‬في‭ ‬المجتمع‭ ‬المحلي؛‭ ‬من‭ ‬أجل‭ ‬تهيئة‭ ‬جو‭ ‬أفضل‭ ‬لطلاب‭ ‬الجامعة‭ ‬المُسلمين‭ ‬على‭ ‬وجه‭ ‬الخصوص‭.‬

تارا‭ ‬شريف

ح‭.‬و‭.: ‬أود‭ ‬أن‭ ‬أبدأ‭ ‬بسؤالك‭ ‬عن‭ ‬أكثر‭ ‬شيء‭ ‬تستمتعين‭ ‬به‭ ‬في‭ ‬رمضان؟‭ ‬هل‭ ‬يُلهمك‭ ‬للقيام‭ ‬بأشياء‭ ‬أفضل؟‭ ‬هل‭ ‬يجعلك‭ ‬أقرب‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬الأمة‭ (‬المُجتمع‭)‬؟

ت‭.‬ش‭: ‬أفضل‭ ‬شيء‭ ‬بالنسبة‭ ‬لي‭ ‬بخصوص‭ ‬رمضان‭ ‬هو‭ ‬إحساس‭ ‬المُجتمع،‭ ‬خاصةً‭ ‬هنا‭ ‬في‭ ‬ميسون‭. ‬لدينا‭ ‬عدد‭ ‬كبير‭ ‬من‭ ‬الطلبة‭ ‬المُسلمين‭. ‬في‭ ‬عائلتي‭ ‬أيضًا،‭ ‬نصبح‭ ‬أقرب‭ ‬أثناء‭ ‬رمضان‭. ‬وأنا‭ ‬أيضًا‭ ‬أجد‭ ‬بنفسي‭ ‬انعكاسًا‭ ‬على‭ ‬الأشياء‭ ‬التي‭ ‬لا‭ ‬أجدها‭ ‬في‭ ‬بقية‭ ‬العام‭. ‬أنا‭ ‬استمتع‭ ‬لأن‭ ‬هذا‭ ‬الشهر‭ ‬يجعلك‭ ‬أقرب‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬المُسلمين‭ ‬الآخرين،‭ ‬ويجعلك‭ ‬تُدرك‭ ‬كم‭ ‬أنت‭ ‬ثريّ؛‭ ‬مما‭ ‬يجعلك‭ ‬مُمتنًا‭.‬

ح‭.‬و‭.: ‬كشخص‭ ‬من‭ ‬أصول‭ ‬كرديّة،ما‭ ‬هي‭ ‬العاداتٍ‭ ‬تقومين‭ ‬بها‭ ‬وهل‭ ‬تختلف‭ ‬عن‭ ‬مسلمين‭ ‬آخرين‭ ‬في‭ ‬رمضان؟

ت‭.‬ش‭: ‬لا‭ ‬أعتقد‭ ‬ذلك‭.‬أنا‭ ‬أعلم‭ ‬أنّه‭ ‬عندنا‭ ‬في‭ ‬كردستان،‭ ‬كما‭ ‬هو‭ ‬الحال‭ ‬في‭ ‬معظم‭ ‬الدول‭ ‬ذات‭ ‬الأغلبيّة‭ ‬المُسلمة،‭ ‬هناك‭ ‬شخص‭ ‬يقرع‭ ‬طبلةً‭ ‬لإيقاظ‭ ‬الناس‭ ‬من‭ ‬أجل‭ ‬السحور‭. ‬إنّه‭ ‬حدث‭ ‬مجتمعي‭ ‬ضخم‭. ‬عادة‭ ‬ما‭ ‬تُغلق‭ ‬المطاعم،‭ ‬ماعدا‭ ‬مطاعم‭ ‬اليهود‭ ‬والمسيحيّن،‭ ‬أو‭ ‬اليزيدين‭ ‬في‭ ‬كردستان‭. ‬أنا‭ ‬أعرف‭ ‬أن‭ ‬العيد‭ ‬هو‭ ‬أول‭ ‬يوم‭ ‬تقضيه‭ ‬مع‭ ‬عائلتك‭. ‬واليوم‭ ‬الثاني،‭ ‬تزور‭ ‬فيه‭ ‬عائلتك‭ ‬المُمتدة،‭ ‬واليوم‭ ‬الثالث‭ ‬تزور‭ ‬فيه‭ ‬أصدقائك‭ ‬وهو‭ ‬أقل‭ ‬الأيام‭ ‬رسميةً‭.‬

ح‭.‬و‭.: ‬مالذي‭ ‬تقومين‭ ‬به‭ ‬من‭ ‬أجل‭ ‬تقوية‭ ‬إيمانك‭ ‬أثناء‭ ‬رمضان؟

ت‭.‬ش‭: ‬أنا‭ ‬أجد‭ ‬أنّه‭ ‬يساعدني‭ ‬على‭ ‬تضمين‭ ‬الإسلام‭ ‬في‭ ‬حياتي‭ ‬أكثر،‭ ‬فالأمر‭ ‬يتخطى‭ ‬كونه‭ ‬التزامًا‭ ‬في‭ ‬رمضان‭ ‬فقط‭. ‬بل‭ ‬يساعدك‭ ‬على‭ ‬أن‭ ‬تكون‭ ‬أكثر‭ ‬تدينَا‭ ‬وأكثر‭ ‬تركيزًا‭ ‬في‭ ‬بقية‭ ‬العام‭. ‬أنا‭ ‬أحاول‭ ‬تقليل‭ ‬كمية‭ ‬اللغو‭ ‬والكلمات‭ ‬غير‭ ‬المُفيدة‭ ‬التي‭ ‬أتفوه‭ ‬بها‭ ‬أو‭ ‬استمع‭ ‬إليها‭. ‬أنا‭ ‬أحب‭ ‬القراءة‭ ‬ليلًا،‭ ‬ولديّ‭ ‬العديد‭ ‬من‭ ‬الكتب‭ ‬الإسلامية‭ ‬التي‭ ‬أقرأها‭ ‬والتي‭ ‬أشعر‭ ‬براحة‭ ‬كبيرة‭ ‬أثناء‭ ‬قراءتها‭. ‬أنا‭ ‬أشعر‭ ‬بالراحة‭ ‬حين‭ ‬أرجع‭ ‬إليها‭ ‬في‭ ‬رمضان،‭ ‬وفي‭ ‬أي‭ ‬وقت‭ ‬أمر‭ ‬فيه‭ ‬بأي‭ ‬أزمة‭. ‬أنا‭ ‬أحاول‭ ‬أن‭ ‬أؤدي‭ ‬جميع‭ ‬الصلوات‭ ‬في‭ ‬وقتها،‭ ‬أنا‭ ‬قاسية‭ ‬جدًا‭ ‬على‭ ‬نفسي‭ ‬في‭ ‬هذا‭ ‬الخصوص،‭ ‬وأشعر‭ ‬بشعورٍ‭ ‬جيد‭ ‬عندما‭ ‬أقوم‭ ‬بذلك‭. ‬

فاطمة‭ ‬غدورة

ح‭.‬و‭.: ‬بمنظورٍ‭ ‬روحانيّ،‭ ‬هل‭ ‬تعتقدين‭ ‬أنّك‭ ‬تزدادين‭ ‬روحانيةً‭ ‬أثناء‭ ‬رمضان؟

ف‭.‬غ‭: ‬نعم،‭ ‬ففي‭ ‬كل‭ ‬رمضان‭ ‬أحاول‭ ‬أن‭ ‬أضع‭ ‬أهدافًا‭ ‬لنفسي‭. ‬أنا‭ ‬أحاول‭ ‬قراءة‭ ‬القرآن‭ ‬أكثر‭ ‬من‭ ‬مرة،‭ ‬وأكمل‭ ‬قراءته‭ ‬بالكامل‭ (‬خاتمة‭). ‬أنا‭ ‬لا‭ ‬أنجح‭ ‬كل‭ ‬عام،‭ ‬ولكنّي‭ ‬أستمر‭ ‬في‭ ‬المُحاولة‭. ‬وأقضي‭ ‬مزيدًا‭ ‬من‭ ‬الوقت‭ ‬مع‭ ‬عائلتي،‭ ‬مما‭ ‬يجعلني‭ ‬أزداد‭ ‬نموًا‭ ‬من‭ ‬الناحية‭ ‬الشخصيّة‭.‬

ح‭.‬و‭.: ‬ما‭ ‬أشد‭ ‬الصعوبات‭ ‬التي‭ ‬تواجههك‭ ‬أثناء‭ ‬رمضان؟

ف‭.‬غ‭: ‬أنا‭ ‬أعتقد‭ ‬أن‭ ‬أشد‭ ‬الأمور‭ ‬صعوبةً‭ ‬التي‭ ‬تواجهني‭ ‬هى‭ ‬موازنة‭ ‬حياتي‭ ‬الاعتياديّة‭ ‬في‭ ‬رمضان‭. ‬أثناء‭ ‬رمضان‭ ‬أحاول‭ ‬أن‭ ‬أصلي‭ ‬التراويح،‭ ‬وأحاول‭ ‬أن‭ ‬أقضي‭ ‬مزيدًا‭ ‬من‭ ‬الوقت‭ ‬مع‭ ‬العائلة،‭ ‬ولكن‭ ‬في‭ ‬نفس‭ ‬الوقت‭ ‬لا‭ ‬يزال‭ ‬عليّك‭  ‬بعض‭ ‬المسئوليات‭ ‬مثل‭ ‬المدرسة‭. ‬الكثير‭ ‬من‭ ‬الطلاب‭ ‬أخبروني‭ ‬أنّه‭ ‬سيكون‭ ‬من‭ ‬العسير‭ ‬عليهم‭ ‬أن‭ ‬يوازنوا‭ ‬بين‭ ‬الحصص‭ ‬الصيفيّة‭ ‬أو‭ ‬وظائفهم‭ ‬ورمضان‭.‬

خالد‭ ‬الصرايرة

ح‭.‬و‭.: ‬ما‭ ‬هو‭ ‬أفضل‭ ‬جزء‭ ‬خاص‭ ‬برمضان‭ ‬بالنسبة‭ ‬لك؟

خ‭.‬ص‭: ‬أنا‭ ‬أعتقد‭ ‬أن‭ ‬أفضل‭ ‬جزء‭ ‬من‭ ‬رمضان‭ ‬سيكون‭ ‬الشعور‭ ‬بالمُجتمع،‭ ‬وكيفيّة‭ ‬اجتماع‭ ‬الجميع‭ ‬في‭ ‬رمضان‭.‬

ح‭.‬و‭.: ‬في‭ ‬رأيك،‭ ‬مالذي‭ ‬يجب‭ ‬على‭ ‬المساجد‭ ‬المحليّة،‭ ‬والقادة‭ ‬المُسلمين‭ ‬القيامُ‭ ‬به‭ ‬من‭ ‬أحل‭ ‬مساعدة‭ ‬جيلنا‭ ‬أثناء‭ ‬رمضان؟

خ‭.‬ص‭: ‬أنا‭ ‬أعتقد‭ ‬أنّ‭ ‬هناك‭ ‬انفصالًا‭ ‬بين‭ ‬جيلنا‭ ‬وجيل‭ ‬أبائنا‭ ‬الذين‭ ‬ولدوا‭ ‬وترّبوا‭ ‬في‭ ‬مكان‭ ‬أخر‭. ‬أنا‭ ‬أتمنى‭ ‬أن‭ ‬يكون‭ ‬هناك‭ ‬المزيد‭ ‬من‭ ‬الأئمة‭ ‬من‭ ‬جيلنا،‭ ‬والذين‭ ‬يسلطون‭ ‬الضوء‭ ‬على‭ ‬القضايا‭ ‬التي‭ ‬تُهمنا‭ ‬حقًا،‭ ‬وسوف‭ ‬يساعدنا‭ ‬هذا‭ ‬على‭ ‬التطور،‭ ‬وسوف‭ ‬يجعل‭ ‬مزيدًا‭ ‬من‭ ‬شباب‭ ‬جيلنا‭ ‬يندمجون‭ ‬في‭ ‬هذه‭ ‬الأمور‭.‬